The Final Curse of Ophelia Cray (Tour Post & Review)

Book Title: The Final Curse of Ophelia Cray
Author: Christina Calella
Release Date: April 9, 2024
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
My rating: 4/5 Stars


Storms and pirates are nothing compared to the evil within men’s hearts.

After a lifetime of abuse at the hands of superstitious townsfolk, Ophelia Young, a bastard child of the notorious pirate queen, is tired of paying for the sins of her mother. Despite playing by the rules her whole life, she’s earned nothing but spite and suspicion. So when a naval officer saves her from the jeering crowd at her mother’s hanging, Ophelia hatches a new hope of enlisting in the navy to escape her mother’s legacy and redeem her own reputation for good. But Ophelia soon discovers that a life at sea isn’t as honorable as she hoped.

Betsy Young is as different as she could be from her half-sister Ophelia. She’s a nervous homebody who wants to keep her family safe and longs to be in love. So naturally, she’s devastated when the son of their family’s business partner rejects her hand in marriage and her sister joins the navy. But when her father contracts a life-threatening illness as well, Betsy has to bring Ophelia home to save the family business.

Unfortunately for the Young sisters, Betsy trying to get Ophelia recalled reveals that Ophelia enlisted fraudulently under Betsy’s name, a secret which Ophelia struggles to keep from crewmates who would kill her if they knew she was the pirate queen’s daughter. To save Ophelia from the naval authorities, Betsy will have to board a ship during hurricane season and brave all the dangers of the sea to get them both home safe.

Content Warning: hanging, corporal punishments (whipping), strangulation

My Review:

The Final Curse of Ophelia Cray is a story about finding your place, family ties, and sister bonds. I’m gonna be honest and say that I thought this was going to be completely different than it was, but I’m not mad about it! This book is one that’s filled with constant adventure and high stakes, so my anxiety levels were going up and down the whole time. I was so invested in Ophelia and Betsy’s journeys and I wanted them to succeed.

My favorite part about this book is the relationship between half sisters Ophelia and Betsy. Many times in books, we’re greeted with the purest, deepest bonds between siblings, but in reality, familial relationships are a lot more messy, and The Final Curse of Ophelia Cray perfectly demonstrates that. Throughout the book, Ophelia and Betsy fight a lot, and they disagree about many things, but even so, they love each other. No matter how much they get on the other’s nerves, when it comes down to it, they will do what they need to help the other. I have a few siblings, and I rarely relate to those in books. Yet, these two, even if they’re nothing like me or my siblings, were relatable in that their relationship felt so genuine.

In addition to family relationships, there are many mysteries in this book. At first, none of them seemed related when they were first presented, but as the book goes on, all of the threads begin to tie together. I was fascinated and always trying to figure out how each new puzzle piece fit into the story.

Those who know me know that I love a good female-lead pirate story, and while the mc of this one isn’t exactly a pirate, it definitely scratched that itch for me. Ophelia, while conflicted and unsure of herself at times, was a strong female character who I loved following along with.

I loved watching Ophelia and Betsy grow as characters. They change so much from beginning to end, and their character arcs are executed expertly. I also love the fact that Ophelia is aro-ace. It’s not explicitly stated in those terms, but she mentions that she feels no romantic inclination toward anyone and she has no desire to be touched. This was an excellent addition to the story. I’m always looking for more books with aro-ace rep!

The only thing I wish is that the plot line surrounding Ophelia’s birth mother (and other parts of it revealed later on) had been expanded on more. I found it so interesting, and I would’ve loved more information about it!

While this book definitely stands on its own, I think there’s potential for a sequel, so I’m excited to see if anything will be announced.

Overall, this was a fun read that had me constantly guessing and always anticipating. I really enjoyed it!

Thank you to NetGalley and TBR and Beyond Tours for the digital ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.

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Barnes & Noble:

About the Author:

When not writing, Christine Calella spends her spare time singing showtunes in the shower, drinking more chai lattes than is strictly necessary, and either over-or under-watering an unfortunate string of houseplants named after sitcom characters. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University, and she lives in New York City.

As her romance alter ego, Madeline Bell, Christine also pens adult rom-coms with a bookishtwist. For more information, check out the Books section, under the “By Madeline Bell” drop-down.

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Check out my last blog post: To a Darker Shore (ARC Review)

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